We drove to Taxila town, which was the Mecca of Buddhism in the 2nd century BC. Jaulian monastery (2nd Century – 450 AD) like many other Buddhist retreats in the area is perched on top of a small hill, a short distance from Taxila.
I guess Buddhist monks needed some peace of mind to meditate; Jaulian monastery was the perfect spot to do so. Water streams ran on both sides of the hill with a birds-eye-view of the sprawling land below.
Jaulian monastery site was built during the syncretic Kushan rulers’ time, hence the representation of Indians, Europeans and Nepali monks in their symbols
I have found Jaulian monastery to be the most revealing and better preserved amongst the various sites peppered around these mountain ranges like Mohra Moradu, Pipplan, Srikap, Badalpur, SirSukh etc.
The most interesting statue was that of Buddha’s image in the form of three ethnicities that ruled the region over the years. One image was that of a Greek monk with wavy hair, the second was that of a Nepali bald head monk and the third was an Indian monk with curly hair.
One Qigong master once remarked about this Jaulian monastery site, “I still feel the presence of spirit of monks from 2000 years back”
Lots of Buddhists still perform their religious rituals at this site — it is still sacred ground to them.
Then this is the only site where I saw the image of the fasting Buddha carved on the base of sacred tower (reliquary) that is Omni present on every site.
Oh in case I forget, the gold cased relics of Buddha from Jaulian are now in British Museum in London
I saw an inscription dating back 2nd century AD, in Khroshti text. It seemed gibberish to me. I wish someone translates it to me.
The spiritually inclined would place their index finger inside an opening on the torso of Buddha’s statue, to have their prayers answered by the divine himself.
What I found profoundly fascinating was the evidence that this monastery was burnt to the ground by White Huns in around 450 AD — looking at the charred window frames.
The current level of research shows that most of the Buddhist towns and monastery complexes around Taxila were abandoned after the White Huns invasion around the same time.
A well preserved chamber had the perfect image of Buddha in meditation (hands overlapping) with the preaching Buddha (one hand across the chest) overlooking him.
Lo and Behold! The double storey monastery had a lotus lake smack in the middle, fed by rain water.
The statue of Buddha teaching (one hand clasping the other) that I saw at Jaulian was nowhere to be seen at Takht Bahi.
The votive stupas (devotees burial grounds) surrounding the main Stupa were elaborately carved in Greek-European style —all telling a story. The various levels of these stupas talk of burden of man, the distraction of women, the significance of snake & elephant characteristics and the seven heavens.
I loved Jaulian monastery site, which was probably the best preserved; good job KPK archaeology!
I wish the artifacts and statues be returned to their natural locations so that visitors can have a complete spiritual and history experience.
Please, also read about Takht Bahi Buddhist monastery.
Other Buddhist site in Taxila are
Do enjoy the video of Taxilla and surrounding Buddhist site.